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Writing the Black Revolutionary Diva

Women's Subjectivity and the Decolonizing Text

Kimberly Nichele Brown

Publication Year: 2010

Kimberly Nichele Brown examines how African American women since the 1970s have found ways to move beyond the "double consciousness" of the colonized text to develop a healthy subjectivity that attempts to disassociate black subjectivity from its connection to white culture. Brown traces the emergence of this new consciousness from its roots in the Black Aesthetic Movement through important milestones such as the anthology The Black Woman and Essence magazine to the writings of Angela Davis, Toni Cade Bambara, and Jayne Cortez.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Blacks in the Diaspora


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p. vii-vii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. 1-24

On July 14, 1989, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, and Michelle Wallace appeared on the syndicated talk show Donahue. Their presence was a testament to the fact that black female writers had more than solidified their hold on America’s publishing...

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1. From Soul Cleavage to Soul Survival: Double-Consciousness and the Emergence of the Decolonized Text/Subject

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pp. 25-66

In 2005, the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston showcased an exhibition titled Double-Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970, which featured the multigenerational work of artists Terry Adkins, Edgar Arceneaux, Sanford Biggers, Charles Gaines, Ellen Gallagher, David...

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2. “Who is the Black woman?” Repositioning the Gaze and Reconstructing Images in The Black Woman: An Anthology and Essence Magazine

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pp. 67-111

Often lauded as one of the first stories featuring black women who were college-educated and politically active, Paule Marshall’s widely anthologized short story “Reena” centers around the reunion of two middle- class women—one Bajan (the narrator), the other African American...

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3. Constructing diva citizenship> The Enigmatic Angela Davis as Case Study

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pp. 112-149

On July 21, 2008, The New Yorker hit newsstands brandishing a satirical cover that featured the Obamas in the Oval Office enacting what has come to be known as their signature move, the fist-to-fist “bump.” Many saw the caricature as offensive because Barack Obama is attired in traditional...

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4. Return to the flesh: The Revolutionary Ideology behind the Poetry of Jayne Cortez

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pp. 150-184

Throughout Writing the Black Revolutionary Diva, I lament the ways discourses surrounding double-consciousness and the multifariously damaged African American subject obscure the decolonizing impulses found in many contemporary African American texts. Given that poetry...

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5. She dreams a world: The Decolonized Text and the New World Order, Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters

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pp. 185-216

Zora Neale Hurston begins Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) by reflecting on the ways women view the world differently than men. For men, “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never...

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Coda: This is not just about “inward navel-gazing”: Decolonizing My Own Mind as a Critical Stance

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pp. 217-222

In 1972, acclaimed novelist Sherley Anne Williams published her only work of literary criticism, Give Birth to Brightness: A Thematic Study of Neo-Black Literature. Her afterword, “The Demands of Blackness on Contemporary Critics,” provides an interesting glimpse of a type of double- consciousness Williams had apparently been battling throughout...


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pp. 223-241


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pp. 243-259


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pp. 261-280

E-ISBN-13: 9780253004703
E-ISBN-10: 0253004705
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253355256

Page Count: 294
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Blacks in the Diaspora